Last week, Tor and I finally had the chance to visit Charleston and the first stop on our visit was Magnolia Gardens and Plantation. I told Tor that I wanted to squeeze in at least one plantation on our visit, since I had never seen one in person before. Thanks to so many recommendations from readers and a friend of mine who lives in South Carolina, we were told a visit to Magnolia was a must.
Sea NY dress (old, similar here and here), Chanel bag (similar here), Carrie Forbes sandals (similar here and here, last seen here), Jo Malone Star Magnolia perfume
After a 5 hour drive in from Atlanta where Tor is currently filming The Originals, we had enough time to visit one plantation in the late afternoon. After dropping off our bags at our hotel Zero George (stay tuned for a blog post about our stay there!), we hopped back into our car and drove 20 minutes west to Magnolia Gardens and Plantation. Many people told us that we needed to visit the gardens, so we made that a priority.
Magnolia Gardens are the oldest romantic gardens in the country. Before our visit, I didn’t understand what truly encompassed a “romantic garden.” It was easy to see why right away. The gardens looked like they were straight out of a fairy tale, especially all the live oak trees which are not common in NJ (where I am from) or Southern California. I kept remarking to Tor that I felt like I had stepped into a storybook and that we were the naive young prince and princess in love frolicking about.
While walking through paths completely covered by beautiful trees, there’s also a beautiful lake in the middle of the gardens. Unfortunately once I saw signs that alligators live in those waters, Tor knew I wouldn’t be able to relax. We didn’t see any alligators on our excursion, but of course every time anything in the water made any sound, I would jump three feet back. We caught some of my silly nerves on video, which we will try to include in our upcoming travel vlog if it’s not too embarrassing!
Despite me wanting to visit a plantation for so long, in the end we actually ended up skipping entering the house. Despite the house burning during the Civil War, Magnolia Plantation certainly has a history. The house and the first garden were founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, and 15 generations later the property is still run by the Draytons. Originally, the plantation was a rice plantation. Not long before the Civil War, the gardens were reworked into the English style, including a romantic long bridge that was built in the 1840s. As with almost every Southern plantation, Magnolia Gardens has a history of slavery. In fact, a few buildings that housed slaves are still standing on the property. We didn’t get the chance to go inside them, but there are tours that can show you the inside and give you a peek into the lives of those who lived and worked there. The slaves at Magnolia were very skilled gardeners, which is still evident and helped Magnolia’s gardens become what they are today.
If you get the chance to visit Charleston, I highly recommend a stop at Magnolia Gardens. They truly are romantic and unlike anything else I had wandered through. The house is also full of history, so if you have time to take the house tour then you definitely should. And for those who are animal lovers like us, there’s a mini zoo on the property featuring miniature horses, peacocks, and more.
Stay tuned for the next posts about our Charleston visit!